The Industrial Revolution: A World Transformed

By Sophia Maddox | January 12, 2024

Massive Migration: An Influx of Humanity

In the late 18th century, the world witnessed a profound and unprecedented transformation as traditional societies gave way to cultures that were driven largely by industry. This shift, characterized by technological innovations, mass production, and urbanization, laid the foundation for the modern world as we know it. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, innovative individuals continued to come up with new ideas and new ways to expand the economy, government, and society as a whole. 

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As people continued to move to where work was available, factories became the epicenter of economic activity. In addition to the wealthy individuals who provided the financial resources necessary to launch and maintain these factories, people were constantly looking for ways to streamline operations and increase the number of products being manufactured. These innovations led to an even greater demand for labor. This demand eventually led to the people who had remained in rural areas slowly moving to urban settings, based largely on the promise of gainful employment.

The transition from rural to urban life wasn’t completely smooth, however. The rapid speed at which people migrated into these urban areas led to issues in housing, sanitation, and social services. It simply wasn’t possible for builders to build homes at a fast enough pace to meet the growing demands of urban areas. This housing crisis led to overcrowding in urban areas riddled with poverty and created countless social and health issues. 

Mass Production: The Debate About Quality vs. Quantity Begins

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Mass production was perhaps the most important aspect of manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution. Economies around the world had never been as productive as they became with the innovations that made it possible for crews of workers to mass produce goods of virtually every kind. The demand for artisans continued to dwindle, as people decided they were willing to pay for items that were already constructed instead of waiting on a single artisan to manufacture them. 

Henry Ford, the man behind the Ford Motor Company, revolutionized the manufacturing world by implementing the assembly line. The manufacturing process was divided into sequential tasks, and each worker assumed responsibility for a particular component. This created a continuous flow of production but wasn’t without its issues. Debates raged that focused on quantity vs. quality. The human experience of work was being phased out slowly, as machines did more. Ultimately, people largely chose to trust the products churned out in factories and the consumer-driven economy became a staple of the world as we know it.